May 28, 2020
by Steve Scholer
Creighton University's University Relations
click here for photo and information about the writer

Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Lectionary: 300

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalms 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
John 17:20-26

Daily Easter Prayer

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Rediscovering the Corporal Works of Mercy

With Ascension Day just a short week ago and Pentecost next Sunday, the Gospel reading from John that started our Easter journey resonated with me. In the reading John details Jesus’ prayer, often called his High Priestly Prayer, that he prayed just before entering the Garden of Gethsemane and his looming crucifixion.

In many ways the prayer reminded me of a death bed soliloquy. But there was one major distinction. Most deathbed prayers are about the wrongs we have done in our lives, but Jesus’ prayer was not about misdeeds that were never corrected or expressions of love that were never shared, but rather, an affirmation of the fulfillment of his mission on earth.

As Jesus said in the prayer, through his tireless efforts, it was not just the disciples who came to believe in his words but the throngs who followed him, so that all may be brought to perfection and to realize that God loved them just as he loved his Son. His prayer ends with the wonderful line, I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them. Talk about a job well done, this was it.

If death were imminent for us, what would our own personal High Priestly Prayers be like? Would they be about the praise and glory we offered up to God during our lives and how we shared our faith with others so they, too, could know God and experience his endless love? Or would they more likely be focused on our shortcomings?

Unlike Jesus, we were born sinners and sinners we will die. But wouldn’t it be nice if our final prayers were less about our faults and regrets and more about the humble pride that comes from living the life Christ taught us to live?

Maybe each of us should set aside some time and write our own High Priestly Prayer and focus on the good we are doing for those we love and for those we don’t even know, so that we may all be one. Note how we are spreading the Gospel, so that others might find the joy and love we have found in knowing Christ.

For many of us, the exercise might provide a beginning road map about where we as Christians have underutilized our God-given gifts and talents and how we can work to correct those deficiencies and be more Christ-like in how we live our lives and interact with others. Maybe we could even end our prayer with, I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.

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